Grecia Echevarria-Hernandez said she was denied pay raises because of her religious beliefs
A Catholic woman fired from her job at a bottled water company led by a Nevada lawmaker has filed a federal lawsuit against the business, saying she was pressured to watch videos on Scientology and was denied pay raises because of her religious beliefs.
Grecia Echevarria-Hernandez filed a discrimination lawsuit on April 26 against Las Vegas-based AffinityLifestyles.com, also known as Real Alkalized Water.
Republican Assemblyman Brent Jones is president of the company. His son, Blain Jones, is executive vice president of the company and is running for a Nevada Assembly seat.
“I have not seen the legal documents at this time, so I cannot comment on the alleged claims,” Jones said in a statement on Tuesday.
The plaintiff said she was hired in March 2015 as a “brand ambassador” for Real Water, which markets water infused with electrons that “can help your body to restore balance, and reach your full potential!” according to the company website.
On her first day, Echevarria-Hernandez said she was forced to watch several videos with religious undertones, including “The Secret” and others based on Scientology.
Her supervisor later told her that she could get a 25-cent raise if she participated in self-betterment courses, and the plaintiff said she tried to sit through one of the classes.
But it also had to do with Scientology and made her feel uncomfortable, so she left early.
The plaintiff let her supervisor know she didn’t want to participate because she held different religious beliefs – she was baptised Catholic and attends a Christian church.
As a result, she was not eligible for raises, according to the lawsuit.
“Plaintiff felt alienated by all of the other employees because they all held the same religious beliefs, and clearly did not approve of her choice to not participate,” the complaint said.
Echevarria-Hernandez said that she wasn’t previously written up for poor performance, but her supervisor wrote three reports in October 2015, alleging she wasn’t fulfilling her job duties.
Another person fired her the next day.
“The termination was not based on deficient job performance as defendant claims,” the lawsuit says. “In reality, defendant sought a reason to terminate an employee with differing religious views.”
Echevarria-Hernandez alleges her treatment violated Nevada law and constituted discrimination, retaliation and an unlawful employment practice under the federal Civil Rights Act, which applies to any business with 15 or more employees.
She’s seeking compensation for past and future lost income and benefits, unspecified damages for emotional distress, and punitive damages.
No court date has been set.